ONEONTA _ A community-based program to combat childhood obesity and bring greater awareness to related health issues recently received renewed funding.

Kick-Start, a partnership between Oneonta Family YMCA and Bassett Healthcare that began in the fall of 2007, recently received a $2,500 grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, said program manager Karina Goodrich.

The funds will allow 15 families, with children ages 7 to 13 who meet the criteria, to continue the program that includes physical activity, diet management and behavior modification. The original grant from Bassett helped start the original eight-week program for 25 families.

The program brings together families, health-care providers and nutrition and fitness experts, all working "to improve the health of our children," said Steve Garner, Bassett Healthcare manager for community health programs.

"We are very excited to be receiving this grant," Goodrich said. "The Oneonta Family YMCA is passionate about making our community members healthier," she said.

A Franklin father said that the program is once again helping his 11-year-old son lead a healthier lifestyle.

He credited the variety of equipment and an "excellent staff" with helping improve not only his son's nutrition and fitness but benefiting the rest of the family as well.

"Childhood obesity is a problem that can only be solved by addressing the eating and exercise habits of the entire family _ not just the child," said Cynthia C. Hummell, senior regional president for Excellus BCBS.

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